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NC State head coach Dave Doeren met the media one last time today after practice, ahead of Saturday’s home opener against Charleston Southern at 12:30 p.m.
Doeren pointed out that the team was embarrassed by the way they were playing. Players are fully aware that they have not played to the level they expected or were capable of.
“Yeah, I think disappointed, embarrassed and all that comes with not playing the way you want is quite indicative of the feelings of coaches and players. Not to take anything away from ECU, they played a very good game of football, but we didn’t play at the level we wanted.
Coaches have upped the intensity a notch or two this week, as well as the physique. Missed tackles have been a focus this week.
“We needed to train better, obviously, so we had a very tough training week, a very competitive training week. It was fiery. There have been a lot of good changes in mentality, in my opinion. These guys understand where they stand. They have to earn it every week, every week. The leaderboards will be what they are, but how you play should be a personal thing for you. This is your resume as a football player and as a coach. I can’t wait to get back on the court and see these guys in Week 2.”
Redshirt junior quarterback Devin Leary, who was the ACC’s preseason player of the year, fell short of those expectations against East Carolina. In Doeren’s opinion, he was trying to do too much, trying to shake things up that didn’t exist.
“I think he was just taking things that weren’t there. I said to him, ‘Take what the defense gives you. When they’re not there, it’s good to burn it or throw it out of bounds. Sometimes it felt like in this game he was trying to be perfect in some way and not make mistakes, and when you do that in any position, you usually do more. Just go back to the readings Coach Beck gives you, play fast, trust your abilities and protect the football.
According to Doeren, the Wolfpack missed 26 audacious tackles against the Pirates, which, to quote him, was “pathetic”.
“We missed 26 tackles. Absolutely pathetic. This week we highlighted the importance of running to the football and getting the angles right. We passed the ball a ton in this game on defense. This week in training, we were physical. They were flying towards the ball. There were a lot of stamps on stamps. They were getting there, sprinting towards the near hip. We challenged the scout teams to make us look better, too, so we had to compete harder or be hampered, and they did. These kids have really worked hard. Last year, as you know, we were a very good tackle team. Well, we trained at a bit of a different pace, so we had to go back to that. They were exhausted coming out of the field on Tuesday and Wednesday for good reason.
This week has been a bit of an “I told you so” week for the coaches. Players were humiliated in a good way.
“I’ve said it a few times this week, for those of us who are parents. You tell your kids things over and over and over again, and sometimes they have to fail before they say, ‘Yeah, I should have. listen. We had one of those moments as a team. I think sometimes these guys think they know more than they do. I’m glad we won. I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful for that. “having had the opportunity to learn and grow from the mistakes we made. There were also positives in the game. I’m not trying to be all pessimistic. There were a lot of good things that have happened, but there are enough negatives to make you feel like there are so many things that we urgently need to improve.
Doeren addressed the status of Redshirt Junior Linebacker Payton Wilson, who left the game against ECU with shoulder discomfort, which he had surgery on last year. While he is still “day to day”, he resumed training on Wednesday.
“Payton Wilson is day to day. You will know it on game day, just like our opponent. We’ll see where that leads. He is well placed. I met him this morning. He is very well placed physically and mentally. We will continue to progress it and see where it ends up.
Finally, the Wolfpack head coach asked whether or not his team was relieved to see some of the pre-season hype taken down a notch.
“Yeah I guess. That’s how they feel about it. For me, like I told them at the start, we’re going to earn our place at the end of the season based on 12 weeks of regular season play. The first week wasn’t great, but we all know that at the end of the year, it’s not going to say your record and then next, ‘That win was lucky.’ They don’t say that. It’s a win. That’s what’s going to happen. We’re going to finish this regular season on the road here in three months, and everything we do during the week will lead to what we do on the road. weekend, and the results of those games will give us the ranking we deserve.